Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping

Of Montreal is the musical baby of singer/guitarist Kevin Barnes from Athens, GA. It's hard to perfectly describe their style or even musical tastes because they often change from album to album. With that being said, if you want to know about the early history and formation of the band I suggest reading this. Of Montreal came onto my musical radar only a couple years ago when their album Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? became a hit with the indie blogosphere and magazines. That praise was warranted, and is still a great album. The best way to describe the sound of the most recent music from the band is electro-pop-funk-psychedelia...or something.

With all that being said, Of Montreal released their newest album Skeletal Lamping yesterday (10/21) in a litany of formats: "including conventional CD and vinyl, as well as t-shirts, button sets, wall decals, tote bags and a paper lantern, the latter formats replete with a digital download code for the album itself." This fact, is really beside the point. The newest album continues the style and feel of the previous album but with less cohesion. It was sometimes difficult to know when certain songs began and ended on the previous album. It was really meant to be listened to all the way through, but this newest album is very choppy. It's not out of the ordinary for tracks to shift multiple times in the span of a couple minutes. It makes for a headache if you're not prepared for the ride. There are a couple bright spots, but overall it's not as complete an album as its predecessor. It's really a love it or hate it album. While I fall more in the middle, I would probably not recommend it over Hissing Fauna. The album is incredibly ambitious, but tends to cross the line between ambitious and pretentious. I generally give the benefit of the doubt to the musician, but I just think Barnes missed the mark on this. On the flip side, some musicians could never begin to be this take it for what it is; an okay album from an entertaining artist.

"For Our Elegant Caste"

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